ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va.–(ENEWSPF)–November 11, 2014 – An unbroken line of veterans has kept the United States and its freedoms safe since the founding of the republic, Vice President Joe Biden said today at America’s most sacred shrine.
Biden thanked veterans and their families for their efforts and sacrifices during Veterans’ Day ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater.
The vice president placed a wreath at the tomb and delivered remarks to about 2,000 veterans.
“Every single generation of veterans throughout our history has been the best that this country has had to offer,” he said. “It is as true today as it was 200 years ago when a generation of warriors held the ramparts at Fort McHenry against the full might of the British navy in the Battle of Baltimore.”
That battle, the vice president reminded the audience, inspired Francis Scott Key to write what became the U.S. national anthem – The Star-Spangled Banner.
In the song, Key asks the question “does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” and the vice president used that question to illustrate the contributions of veterans through American history.
“Did that star-spangled banner wave in the hands of Civil War Sergeant William Carney, the first African-American Medal of Honor recipient, as he took that banner from a falling comrade and charged the ramparts of Fort Wagner?” he said.
Did it wave, Biden asked, “over observation posts that Medal of Honor Recipient Sergeant Ryan Pitts held against enemy rocket-propelled grenades and machine gunfire in the Kunar Valley in Afghanistan?”
Did it wave, he asked, over five Marines and a Navy corpsman atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima?
“Did that star-spangled banner yet wave over American troops in trenches in Frances, beaches of Normandy, mountains of Korea, jungles of Vietnam, streets of Fallujah and the valleys of Afghanistan?” he asked. “And does that star-spangled banner yet wave over every forward position, ship, base, woman and man deployed in the service of our nation today?”
Generations of veterans have ensured the answer to Key’s question is yes, the vice president said. And this is because “as every adversary in every age who has ever come up against you has learned, American warriors never bend, never break and never, ever, ever yield,” the vice president said. “That’s why, as I tell every foreign leader I encounter, it’s never, never, ever been a good bet to bet against the United States of America, because we have you.”
By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity